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February 19, 2005
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Nudist Restaurant Opens for Business in New York

Folks will shortly begin swarming to take a bite out of the Big Apple, but not at the swanky midtown eateries or the trendy downtown joints.  A kinky spot has opened in midtown that caters to those of us that prefer to dine unencumbered by any of life’s baggage, including, maybe especially, garments of any kind.  The place seems to prefer anonymity, which may keep the prying eyes away for an instant, but it’s hard to keep secrets in
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Manhattan so it might take a millisecond or so before the line forms at the entrance for a meal and a peep.

The place has a classy method of greeting dinner guests that choose to take advantage of the “Clothing Optional” feature – they offer you a plastic bag to deposit your evening gown in, along with your unmentionables.  The bag is unceremoniously ditched next to the bar in an understated declaration of independence as the newly liberated guest saunters proudly into the blinding headlights of twenty or thirty interested diners.  "It's exciting to be in a restaurant nude," said George Keyes, 65, a retired junior high school English teacher.  No doubt.

Anybody just a little concerned that we have former English teachers among the distinguished guests?  And how “former” was this guy?  Just to put your mind at ease, Mr. Keyes didn’t join the party clothed only in his birthday suit.  He “wore a necklace, earrings and a black leather ‘genital bracelet’ with red studs. And white sneakers.”  The sneakers are a nice touch.  One can only hope he retired very early.

The gig was started by a bunch of nudists from NYC that were tired of schlepping to the hinterlands to engage in their favorite pastime.  While NYC is still considered wilderness by many, at least it’s closer to home.

John Bussi, manager of the restaurant, got a little defensive when asked to explain his preferred diner’s.  "They're a good class of people, they're no different to you or I.  They're not hurting anybody, it's not a wild Roman orgy."  Methinks he dost protest too much.  I predict that, when full details emerge, we’ll learn about back room orgies galore.  Once folks get naked, they just can’t help themselves. 

One of the diners, Sherry Stafford, brought a bunch of fliers to promote various nudist venues.  One of them was for a place called "Hedonism II" which proudly carries the slogan "Be wicked for a week." Sherry felt the need to make a few points in favor of nudists’ moral fiber, saying that “nudists should not be confused with swingers.”  No, but maybe they should be confused with perverts.  Sherry courageously added that “wearing clothes and going to church does not protect you from moral evil.”  Maybe not, but showing up on Sunday in the buff is a one-way ticket to the underworld.  We have Adam and Eve to thank for that legacy.

Bussi, the manager, is classy enough to insist that the guests sit on towels so they don’t leave skid marks on the furniture.  And the staff has to be fully dressed to keep the health department off his back.  They must have a different health department at Bussi’s location than on 42nd St – or maybe they fired all those 42nd St. inspectors when Guiliani sold the place to Disney.  Bussi also respects his guests’ privacy by covering the windows, but this may also be intended to protect unsuspecting passersby from accidental glimpses of ugliness.  After all, not all of us a blessed with a body that looks good without clothes (I’m not).  One of the nudies even admitted that it’s "the least sexual thing you can possibly imagine."  Pretty strong stuff.

Another guest had a few good things to say about group nude yoga.  She quickly discovered that it’s hard to stay in a yoga position with wandering eyes, which eased her mind.  But what about that large crowd in street clothes that has gathered to “learn”?  And aren’t yoga positions the kinds of things they aim for in Hustler shoots?  Sounds like a perverts dream to me.  Hopefully that doesn’t make me a pervert.

Well, if dining and yoga are appropriate venues for nudity, where else can we apply the benefits of nudism?

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Conferences:  I give a lot of speeches for my job, and one of the things they always tell you to do when you get in front of a large group is to imagine them all in their underwear.  It’s supposed to ease your nerves.  I’ve never tried it, but maybe it works.  If so, why not just tell everybody to come naked.  They can enter the room with nothing but their copy of the presentation, a notebook, and a towel (to sit on).  There are some side benefits here too.  If your talk sucks, they’ll probably be so distracted checking each other out that they won’t even notice.
Don't Have Much To Say?  Make Them Come Naked
Weddings:  Here’s a twist – everybody naked but the lucky couple!  What a cruel, twisted scheme.  The only two people at the event that can’t wait to get our of their clothes and wrap themselves around each other have to stand around in formal wear while the guests, who could care less about being naked, have to wander around awkwardly in the buff.  Certainly raises the anticipation for the wedding night unless, that is, the families happen to be particularly ugly in the nude in which case the ceremony may be one big coitus interuptus.
The Frustrated Couple
The Workplace:  Here’s a risky one.  Businesses have been working hard to eliminate sexual harassment from the workplace, and instituting a new policy where employees come to work nude would not seem to support this objective.  If we believe the nudist population, however, which says that the whole experience borders on being anti-sexual, a “Nude Workplace” policy  might be like throwing the whole corporate culture into reverse.  This could be dangerous for corporations that have not made strides in casting sexual harassment out of their environments – imagine the equivalent of a corporate transmission lying in the middle of the road the first day of the new policy.